Thursday, January 6, 2011

Genesis 7 & 8 - There's Gonna' Be a Floody, Floody

Noah's  Rainbow Chagall Museum, originally uploaded by baabuzz.

The artist, Marc Chagall, was commissioned to illustrate the whole Old Testament. If you ever get an opportunity to go to the Art Institute of Chicago, his American Windows are beautiful.

LINK: Genesis 7&8


We learned yesterday that Noah was a man who walked with God. Genesis 6 concluded with the Scripture saying that "Noah did everything just as God commanded him" in the construction of the ark. We learned he was a man commended for his faith in the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith."

This is the first time clean and unclean animals are mentioned. These terms will become very common throughout the Old Testament, especially in Leviticus. Note there is a calling for more clean pairs of animals than unclean, apparently for sacrifice at a later time.

This is the first mention of forty days and forty nights; a period of time that will become quite significant throughout Scripture (e.g., Moses on the mountain, the temptation of Christ).

Here is a question you may have been asked or are asking yourself:

Did the flood really happen and was it really worldwide?

In a nutshell I will give four supports:

1) Genesis said that it happened and that it was worldwide

Verse 7:20 says that "all high mountains under the entire heavens were covered . . . to a depth of more than twenty feet." This indicates that it was a worldwide flood.

The Hebrew word mabbul and Greek word kataklusmos are used solely in connection with the Noahic flood. The ordinary Hebrew and Greek words for a local flood are not used here.

Scripture certainly supports a worldwide flood. Words like "mankind," "all the people of earth," "every living creature," "all the high mountains," "everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils," "every living thing on the face of the earth," and "all life" found in Genesis 6-9 surely indicates that it happened worldwide and it wiped out everybody.

2) Other Scriptures Support

Isaiah 54:9 says "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth." Jesus supported it in Matthew 24:36-39. Peter indicates it in 2 Peter 3:3-7, "the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water."

3) Science Admits It (sort of)

Scientists do admit a historical flood based on geological evidence (sea fossils on top of mountain tops). They do not acknowledge it was at Noah's time.

4) Anthropology Implies It

There are flood sagas found almost universally in various cultures. None is more widespread than the story about a flood and a boat. There are over 270 flood stories. The Babylonians have one in the story of Gilgamesh where the man comparable to Noah is named Utanapsihtim, ". . . the Sumerians had Ziusidru, the Greeks had Deucalion, the Hinus had Manu, the Chinese had Fah-he, the Hawaiians had Nu-u . . . etc." (Holman Old Testament Commentary). That is pretty amazing and would indicate that it was the same flood as the one in Genesis.

There is so much more we could talk about: the size of a cubit, how fossils form (the abundance of fossils in the fossil record seems to indicate rapid depositing of the earth's sediment), the capacity of the boat, dinosaurs in an ark, etc. I have several articles written by Dr. Kurt Wise that are really mind blowing if that is your thing, and I encourage you to check out Answers in Genesis, and do your own study.

All that aside, how do these chapters speak to you personally?

REFLECTION (written in 2008)

We had a deluge of rain last night; it was so loud that I could not sleep. At about 3 a.m., I started giggling, and I said to God, "Are You trying to help me understand what it must have been like for Noah. YOU CREATIVE CREATOR, YOU!!!!!" 

I quickly got up and said, "Well, if you are going to keep me up by the endless rain racket, I might as well get up and pray and meditate on that passage again." (God is so great.) 

I just imagined myself in the ark with all the animals with their noises and smells, the constant "splatter, splatter, splatter," the confined space with close relatives. (OH, NOT THAT!) I came to have more and more of an appreciation of Noah's faith during the uncertainty and waiting in that ark. I don't know if I could have handled it. Yet, Noah believed God in faith:

"And without faith it impossible to please Him, 
for He who comes to God must believe that He is, 
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." 
(Hebrews 11:6)

We will see time and time again throughout Genesis, faith, front and center, in the Patriarchs who are yet to come. It is SO exciting!

One more thing: I got to thinking about that camp song that I used to sing right after I became a believer:
God said to Noah 
There's gonna'  be a floodyfloody 
God said to Noah 
There's gonna' be a floodyfloody 
Get those children out of the muddy, muddy 
Children of the Lord!
What they did not tell me back then is that God did not tell Noah to get those children out of the "muddy, muddy." Only eight people: Noah, Shem, Ham, Jepheth and their wives were saved from this worldwide deluge. This is heartbreaking. All the rest of humanity was wiped out. I must believe in the sovereignty of God on that one, but I do not look at this story and sing the "happy" camp song anymore. I consider those around me who are sinking today without the Lord.


Your application might take many different forms from my own: risking being different from the people around you in order to obey God, relying on God's promise when the "rain" of your life is making you consider "jumping ship," or maybe opening your eyes to see those sinking all around you and throwing out a "life ring" by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

As I was meditating last night, I spied a prayer bulletin for a part of the world that we used to live in that does not know Noah's faith. I wept as I read through it, and I was renewed in my determination to pray in faith for these people and to take steps toward going on a journey there this summer. Anyone want to step out in faith with us and go? 

 (Update: We did go!)


Lord, give us faith and belief in the goodness of Your plan and promises. We know that it is impossible to please You without faith. Thank You that Your Word and the stories of people like Noah help us to believe You are (we will get to God being I am a little later in the Old Testament) and that You are a rewarder those who seek You (Hebrews 11:6). Help us to seek You!

Also, please give us eyes to see the world through Your eyes, to see the end of man apart from You, and give us hearts that break as Your heart breaks for them. Give us courage to act in faith on that account too. Amen

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